The lexical approach vs the grammar syllabus.
How are we supposed to know where to even begin “teaching lexically”? There are some fundamental questions in the middle of this post relating to the principles (or lack of them) of approaching teaching and learning from a lexis / chunks first perspective.
There are no answers at the moment.
In January 2015, ELTJ published a commentary with the title Lexical priming and explicit grammar in foreign language instruction, which provoked a reply and counter-reply in subsequent issues. Scheffler (2015) argues that, pace Hoey’s theory of lexical priming, “lexis should be subordinated to grammar in FL teaching.” Scheffler reminds us that Hoey sees lexical priming as “the mechanism that drives language acquisition”; that the successful language learner recognises, understands and produces lexical phrases as ready-made chunks; and that, consequently, teachers should concentrate on vocabulary in context and particularly on fixed expressions in speech. Scheffler’s reply is that mastery of lexical associations takes too long to be a viable objective for classroom-based foreign language learning and that grammar-based teaching is more efficacious.
According to Scheffler, in order to reach proficiency through learning lexical chunks, EFL learners have two options: either they use the same subconscious mechanism that operates in L1 acquisition, or they consciously…
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